Workers Compensation is the system that provides wage replacement, medical and rehabilitation benefits to workers who are injured on the job.
It is essentially a no-fault system that requires an employer to compensate a worker for any injury suffered in the course of the worker’s employment, regardless of who was at fault. Under the state’s Workers’ Disability Compensation Act, however, the amount that a worker can recover is limited. In most cases, a worker who is injured receives medical treatment, and the employer or its insurance carrier voluntarily pays workers’ compensation benefits. In time, the worker is “rehabilitated” by returning to his or her former job or to another one with the same employer. Injured workers are entitled to only: (1) certain benefits to make up for the loss of wages suffered by the injured worker (limited by annually adjusted caps); (2) the cost of medical treatment (subject to cost containment rules); and (3) vocational rehabilitation services (limited to 104 weeks). Vocational rehabilitation can include changing the worker’s job station or working with the employer and worker to aid in the person’s return to work at the same or similar job or working with an agency to help the worker find a job with another employer.